Jason Robert Brown finds “musical inspiration” from Grace McLean’s new show at the Lincoln Center.

“In The Green” is packed full of ideas – entire articles could be devoted to unpacking just the dramatic ideas, just the ideas about theatricality and presentation, just the philosophical ideas behind the story Grace is telling. And next to all of those ideas, complementing all of them, are ideas about music: weird, spooky, ecstatic and virtuosic concepts that build on sources as diverse as Gregorian chant, indie rock, hip-hop, Yoko Ono, Meredith Monk, Ligeti, Bjork. Because Grace’s singing voice can do literally anything, many of those musical ideas revolve around the manipulation of the female voice – in layers, in canon, in unison, in silence, and as foreground, as accompaniment, as percussion. What she puts these five astonishing singers through over the course of ninety minutes is unlike anything I have ever experienced in a theater in my life. At every moment, there is a fierce pioneering inventiveness.

“Kudos to Kris Kukul and Ada Westfall and a really powerhouse band, and especially to the five tireless singers: Rachael Duddy, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Mia Pak, Hannah Whitney, and the den mother, visionary, and iconoclast at the center, Grace McLean.”

Read More
George Fahouris
IN THE STUDIO: A photo collage of the making of a Broadway cast album, Beetlejuice The Musical

Local 802 musicians from the Broadway show “Beetlejuice” recently recorded a cast album at the DiMenna Center. Allegro photographer Walter Karling was given access to the session, which was recorded under a union contract. MUSIC COORDINATOR: Howard Joines; MUSIC DIRECTOR: Kris Kukul; ASSOC CONDUCTOR/KEYBOARDS: Adam Laird; REED 1: Vito Chiavuzzo (flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto, soprano); REED 2: Rick Heckman (flute, piccolo, alto, oboe); REED 3: Jay Brandford (flute, clarinet, tenor, bari, bass clarinet); TRUMPET 1: Tony Kadleck (plus flugelhorn); TRUMPET 2: Dylan Schwab (plus flugelhorn); TROMBONE: Nate Mayland (plus bass trombone and tuba); KEYBOARDS: Joey Joseph; BASS: Conrad Korsch (electric and acoustic basses); GUITAR 1: Sean Driscoll (electric, acoustic steel, acoustic nylon, cuatro); GUITAR 2: John Putnam (electric, acoustic steel, ukulele); DRUMS: Shannon Ford ; PERCUSSION: Josh Samuels; VIOLIN AND CONCERTMASTER: Adda Kridler; VIOLIN/VIOLA: Entela Barci ; VIOLIN 2: Sarah Zun; CELLO: Alon Bisk.

Read More
Hear 'Dead Mom' & 'Say My Name' From the Morbidly Magical New 'Beetlejuice' Musical: Exclusive

Music & Lyrics by Eddie Perfect and Musical Supervision, Orchestrations and Incidental Music by Kris Kukul

Now in previews at New York’s Winter Garden Theater after a run in Washington, D.C., director Tim Burton’s 1988 cult classic Beetlejuice has become a Broadway musical (opening April 25). The show still tells the story of the eccentric, clownish demon (originated by Michael Keaton and played here by School of Rock alum Alex Brightman) who terrorizes a family grappling with issues concerning both the mortal and the macabre.

One key difference: new music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect (King Kong). “I was in a really fortunate position to have a great, funny and surprisingly moving script in my hands to go off of,” says Perfect, who set out to inject multiple musical influences into the show. “In Tim Burton’s film, Beetlejuice is always turning on a dime by manipulating, seducing and conjuring up magic and illusions all over the place. I knew that if I set out to write one musical style, it would have killed what works for a character who is dynamic and surprising.”

Read More
3 New Musicals Will Use BMG Catalog, Including Songs of Dolly Parton, Culture Club, and More

New Wave Project conceived and written by Michael Kimmel and arrangements and orchestrations by Kris Kukul

As part of its partnership with BMG and licensing agency Theatrical Rights Worldwide, Lively McCabe Entertainment is developing three new musicals that will use music from the BMG catalog. The projects, set to premiere in 2020, are a country musical, a 1980s New Wave project, and a story about Mrs. Claus featuring contemporary pop hits.

An untitled New Wave Project will tell the story of two young New York City DJs who set off a music revolution in the 1980s. The new musical is conceived and written by Michael Kimmel (Songbird, The Last Goodbye), with arrangements and orchestrations by Kris Kukul (Beetlejuice, The Last Goodbye). The show will draw from the catalogs of Tears For Fears, Billy Idol, Simple Minds, Devo, Culture Club, and many more

Read More
The Stars of Beetlejuice on Bringing the Ghost With the Most to Broadway

Ghosts, demons, life coaches, and even a Girl Scout have taken over Broadway, as Beetlejuice haunts the Winter Garden Theatre beginning March 28. Ahead of the new musical’s Main Stem bow, the stars chatted with Playbill to discuss the thrills, chills, jokes, heart, and humor in store for audiences.

“This might be the most fun I have ever had on a stage,” admits Alex Brightman, who takes on the title role of the bio-exorcist demon. “This is a show that does not exist on Broadway, and it hasn’t existed. Because in its nature, it’s truly absurd.”

Read More
LCT3 to Premiere Grace McLean's IN THE GREEN This Summer

Musical Supervision by Kris Kukul and Orchestrations by Grace McLean and Kris Kukul for this new musical by Grace McLean, IN THE GREEN.

This summer, Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 will produce the world premiere of IN THE GREEN, a new musical by Grace McLean, directed by Lee Sunday Evans. McLean will also be featured in the production which will begin performances Saturday, June 8 and run for eight weeks only through Sunday, August 4 at the Claire Tow Theater (150 West 65 Street). Opening night is Thursday, June 27. IN THE GREEN's cast of five will also feature Rachael Duddy, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, and Hannah Whitney. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

Read More
Podcast: How Music Can Change Our Mood

Music can be powerful. It can change our mood, and, research shows, even change our behavior.

In this podcast, we talk with professor Derek Rucker about his research on power songs and how they might shape the way we behave after we listen to them. Then we talk with Kris Kukul, a Broadway music director, orchestrator and arranger, who helps us understand how music is crafted in order to elicit an emotional reaction.

Read More
George Fahouris